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Delay In Arraignment: Sirika, Brother Facing N19.4bn Fraud Charges

The arraignment of former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, his brother Ahmad Sirika, and company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, at a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Garki, Abuja, was delayed on Monday due to their absence.

The lawyer representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), O.A. Atolagbe, informed the court that the defendants’ counsel had requested an adjournment because the defendants had not been served and were not present in Abuja, having been granted administrative bail.

“The defendants are not in court. They are not able to make it to the court this morning but they have not been served and are not within Abuja and could not make it into town this morning,” Atolagbe said.

The defendants’ counsel, Olaniyi Anjorin, apologized to the court for his clients’ absence, stating, “Your lordship, I want to sincerely apologize for the absence of the defendants.”

Justice Suleiman Belgore adjourned the matter to May 23 for the defendants’ arraignment.

Sirika, his brother Ahmad, and Enginos Nigeria Limited are facing an eight-count criminal charge related to fraud amounting to N19.4 billion. The charges stem from several aviation ministry contracts awarded by the former minister to Enginos Nigeria Limited, owned by Ahmad Sirika.

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The EFCC alleges that Sirika abused his position as minister to benefit his brother and company between April 2022 and March 2023 in Abuja. According to the agency, Sirika awarded contracts including the construction of a Terminal Building at Katsina Airport and the establishment of a Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre, among others, to his brother and company.

The charges also include accusations of money laundering, with Ahmad and Enginos allegedly receiving funds representing the proceeds of criminal conduct by Sirika.

Earlier, Ahmad Sirika had been arrested and detained by the EFCC in connection with payments totaling N3.2 billion to Enginos Nigeria Limited’s bank account by the former minister. These payments were allegedly for contracts that were not completed.

Previously, Hadi Sirika, his daughter Fatimah, son-in-law Jalal Hamma, and Al-Buraq Investment Limited were arraigned on May 9 before Justice Sylvanus Orji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in connection with fraud related to the Nigerian Air project. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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